Former Samoan MP, Wife Fined For Bribery

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Couple found guilty of paying for votes

By Aiga Tofilau

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Sept. 28, 2012) – Former Member of Parliament for Anoama‘a East, 61 year old Moefa‘auo Lufilufi has been fined $1,500 for bribery. He faced 2 counts of bribery, and two separate counts against his wife Maria Pereise. His wife was fined $1,000.

The charges arose from the last general elections.

Prosecutor Rexona Titi told the court that the two defendants committed bribery on 10 October when Maria Pereise gave $100 to Manu Tufatufa and asked him to vote for Moefa‘auo on the day of the elections.

On 2 March, two days before the elections, Moefa‘auo picked up voters in his car and one Puao Mafi for their campaign committee meeting. Puao told the court that Moefa‘auo give money of $50 each to all the matai who turned up to their meeting.

The last action was on the 3 March, a day before the elections and another voter named Tafili Tafili received $100 cash from Moefa’auo and his wife at the time of their meeting and were asked to vote for Moefa‘auo and were told that if Moefa‘auo won the elections, he will do all the good things for their village.

"The penalty for these charges is 2-4 years in prison," said Justice Vaepule Vaemoa Vaai.

The Defence counsel Sarona Ponifasio requested the court that her clients be given a short prison sentence or monetary fines as the two of them are at the age where they have and are prone to many health problems. She also said that they are also affected by diabetes and high blood pressure.

Justice Vaepule said, "someone who was involved in making laws, must be given a laws decision."

He then fined the former MP $1,500 and his wife $1,000 to be paid by the close of business today or face 3 months prison terms.

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